Boulder’s Grant Farm celebrating new album with Fox gig

Tyler Grant shares a supernatural experience, talks government tyranny and fifth LP 'Broke in Two'

Grant Farm is throwing an album-release party Friday at the Fox Theatre. Courtesy
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Boulder’s cosmic-Americana band, Grant Farm is celebrating the release of its fifth full-length album, “Broke in Two,” with a party at the Fox on Friday.

Founder of the band, Tyler Grant, said 2019 was a big push for the band. They recorded in November (the album’s official release is June 14) and the album’s first single and music video, “Morning Train,” premiered on Relix. Grant said they’ve seen promising pre-release activity on Sirius/XM JamOn.

“All this financial investment, along with our studies in social media marketing, have helped us push our touring to the next level,” Grant said. “And we have been playing so much that our live show is tighter than ever.”

Ahead of Friday’s Fox gig — with support from Leftover Salmon’s Drew Emmit and Colorado “newgrazz” band Coral Creek — Grant talked to the Daily Camera about the adventures in creating a cast of characters who have developed across two albums, how he remains positive through “dark Trump days” and how one super-bizarre Fox show on New Year’s Eve nearly scared the songs out of the band.

Meanwhile, after playing around 1,000 shows over a span of eight years, one thing is clear for Grant: “Nobody sounds like Grant Farm.”

Daily Camera: Congrats on the upcoming Grant Farm album release. Do you feel like you’re at the top of your game?

Tyler Grant: We have evolved into an authentic version of ourselves with a story to tell. And yes, we are better than ever as players, singers and as a group.

DC: You’ve described 2016’s “Kiss the Ground” as an “ode to the working people,” with the new “Broke in Two” expounding on the characters its predecessor bred. Where does “Broke in Two” take listeners and fans?

TG: The “Broke in Two” program picks up where “Kiss The Ground” left off. We see a lot of character development both through our own individual personas and through the eyes of some of the characters introduced on “Kiss The Ground,” such as The Innocent One, The Wanderer, Monarch King and Nester the Condemned. Riley the Rebel, another archetypal character, is introduced, living his dream, as well as Arjuna The Believer, testifying to his faith.

The adventures of these characters tie in with our real-life voices to tell a story of growth and spiritual renewal. It’s really our own story of struggle and breakthrough told in our own colorful way. We are hoping listeners dig in and find these bits of insight that can help them through their darkness. The songs, arrangements, vocal harmonies and flow of the album is entertaining no matter how you look at it.

DC: What’s your favorite thing about the new album?

TG: We really sound like ourselves. As was “Kiss The Ground,” “Broke In Two” is a calling card. Nobody sounds like Grant Farm.

DC: You always seem to have such a positive outlook. Have the political and otherwise depressing events of the past few years dampened any of your perspective on life?

TG: I love my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything. We have to stay happy and positive during these dark Trump days. The rise of bullying, tyranny in government, racism, violence and the Evangelical Right nosing its way into matters of state is all shocking and rattles our faith in humanity. It’s time for us to stay organized and keep the faith. Communication, smart voting and discussion of core values is paramount at this time, especially among the youth.

DC: Tell me about an epic memory of playing in Boulder.

TG: The last time we played the Fox was New Year’s Eve supporting the Gasoline Lollipops. The house was packed. About four songs into our set I started to notice something. A small blue orb began circling our way just as we started the “Nester” jam. The guys didn’t see it at first, and the audience was totally oblivious. Sean (Macaulay) and Kevin (McHugh) were doing their little rhythmic riff, Ace (Adrian Engfer) was grabbing a drink of water, and I was making the wailing sounds on my guitar that accompany that part of the song.

This orb seemed to grow and get more active with the lower-pitched wails, and I found that I could manipulate it with different dynamics and sustain. Finally the thing exploded in a blue flash and I could see the entire audience engulfed in blue light. We were inside of this bubble, like a wormhole, and I found that I had some kind of control over the house. The guitar “wails” were now coming from the mouths of the audience and I could conduct them like an orchestra. Everything I played actually came from them, not the guitar anymore.

I was having fun with it but Sean and Kev got so freaked out that they stopped playing. Ace stood and stared in disbelief. The blue light disappeared. The faces in the crowd looked at us as if nothing had happened, so we all started playing again right away. The guys and I have discussed this event and assure each other that it really happened, but we could not get a single testimony from anyone the audience. Nobody remembers. There is no audio or video record of that show, so I guess we’ll just have to tell the story from our own perspective.

DC: I see Drew Emmitt is on the bill and I know you two have history. Do you have anything special lined up for Friday’s show?

TG: I started playing guitar in the Drew Emmitt Band full-time in 2005, during the Leftover Salmon hiatus. In 2008, when String Cheese Incident took their hiatus, Bill Nershi joined forces with Drew to start the Emmitt-Nershi Band supergroup. Bill was the guitarist for that band so I switched over to bass.

I quit ENB in 2010 to start Grant Farm. Drew and I are very close and I’ve played his songs hundreds of times so backing him up is second-nature. This Friday at the Fox Theatre, Coral Creek will play on opening set, then a Grant Farm set showcasing songs from the new album, then an entire set of Drew with us backing him on a bunch of his Leftover Salmon and Drew Emmitt Band favorites. This is a treat for us, being clever musicians and a perfect backing band for Drew. And it’s a nice departure for him, hearing his songs played by a totally different band.

Another part of our story is that my electric guitar, a Fender Telecaster heavily modified by local master luthier Ron Oates, was a gift from Drew one year at Christmas. It’s been my signature instrument ever since, and the only one I play with Grant Farm.

DC: What’s in store for the future?

TG: More songs, more albums, more love and big headlining shows for all our Farmily.


Grant Farm is celebrating the release of its fifth full-length album. (Photo by John-Ryan Lockman)

If you go

What: The Grant Farm “Broke in Two” album release party

When: 8:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder

Cost: $15-$18

More info: foxtheatre.com

blog comments powered by Disqus